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General News of Friday, 12 April 2002

Source: gna

30 died in Yendi, over 2000 displaced

The death toll in the Yendi tragedy is now 30, Mr Mahammad Habibu Tijani, Yendi District Chief Executive, told a delegation of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Minority in Parliament that visited Yendi on Wednesday.

He said 21 people were injured. Twenty-eight houses including the Ya-Na's Palace were burnt while 2,080 persons made up of 1,014 females and 1,066 males have been displaced.

The delegation, led by the Minority Leader, Mr Alban Bagbin with Madam Alice Boom, MP for Lambussie as the other member, was in Yendi to acquaint itself with the security situation on the ground and express the condolences of the Minority to the bereaved families and sympathise with those who lost their property.

Mr Tijani said 200 mini bags of rice, 40 bags of beans, 500 blankets and 500 mats have been received from the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) for distribution to the victims of the catastrophe.

He said those who fled Yendi in the wake of the calamity had started returning to their homes. He said both the Andani and the Abudu gates had agreed on the establishment of an independent judicial inquiry into the mayhem.

The two gates had also pledged to support and co-operate with the government to find a lasting solution to the wrangle about the Ya-Na's skin. Mr Bagbin said the Minority was making efforts at reconciling the people to complement government's efforts and commended the security agencies for working hard to restore peace to the area.

He urged them to work extra hard to facilitate the peace and reconciliation process initiated by the government and pledged the support of the Minority group in Parliament.

Ya-Na Yakubu Andani, Paramount Chief of the Dagbon Traditional Area was killed in overnight fighting in Yendi on Tuesday March 26. Fighting had erupted on Monday between the Andani and Abudu chieftaincy gates to Ya-Na Skin. Sporadic gunshots were heard during the whole of Tuesday despite the presence of armed soldiers and police.

A dusk to dawn curfew was imposed on Yendi on Monday because of the tense situation there and the Northern Regional Security Committee deployed armed soldiers and police to the area and banned the celebration of this year's annual Bugum (Fire) Festival at Yendi that was to have taken place on Monday night.

Tension had been mounting between the two gates since last January over the celebration of the Muslim Eid ul-Adha festival. The Andani Gate that is currently occupying the Dagbon Skin was said not to have been happy when the rival Abudu Gate celebrated the festival in the traditional way at the house of its regent.

Since then, there had been rumours of an imminent attack and counter-attack by the rival chieftaincy gates, which boiled over into an exchange of gunfire on Monday morning. The clash was precipitated when one of the factions allegedly attacked a young man from the rival camp and destroyed his bicycle.

There has been a long-standing dispute over the succession to the Ya-Na Skin. The former Minister of the Interior, Alhaji Al-Hassan Yakubu and the Northern Regional Minister, Prince Imoro Andani resigned to facilitate investigations into the dastardly act.